NYT ticked off with Miller

The Washington Post is running the text of an email sent by New York Times executive editor Bill Keller to the Paper’s staff. Put in simple terms, Keller is saying “the pain in our collective backside is from Judy Miller screwing us over”.

I wish that when I learned Judy Miller had been subpoenaed as a witness in the leak investigation, I had sat her down for a thorough debriefing, and followed up with some reporting of my own.

Keller continues:

Until Fitzgerald came after her, I didn’t know that Judy had been one of the reporters on the receiving end of the anti-Wilson whisper campaign. I should have wondered why I was learning this from the special counsel, a year after the fact. (In November of 2003 Phil Taubman tried to ascertain whether any of our correspondents had been offered similar leaks. As we reported last Sunday, Judy seems to have misled Phil Taubman about the extent of her involvement.)

Taubman is the NYT’s Washington Bureau Chief. Keller goes on to say:

if I had known the details of Judy’s entanglement with Libby, I’d have been more careful in how the paper articulated its defense, and perhaps more willing than I had been to support efforts aimed at exploring compromises.

Entanglement. That is one word for it. After this thrashing, Keller goes even further, suggesting that a newspaper has, or should have, a contract with its reporters–and that Miller had broken it. In so doing, Miller had released the paper from any obligation to defend her source (Scooter Libby):

The contract holds that the paper will go to the mat to back them up institutionally _ but only to the degree that the reporter has lived up to his or her end of the bargain, specifically to have conducted him or herself in a way consistent with our legal, ethical and journalistic standards, to have been open and candid with the paper about sources, mistakes, conflicts and the like, and generally to deserve having the reputations of all of us put behind him or her.

Seems that Miller is about as popular over at the Gray Lady right now as skin cancer.